The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world. Click on the headlines for more.
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CNN: Trove of data found at bin Laden hideout provides first specific alert
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security released a notice tied to rail security Thursday. The unclassified notice to "federal, state, local and tribal partners" says that, in February 2010, al Qaeda members discussed a plan to derail trains in the United States by placing obstructions on tracks, according to a law enforcement source who received the notice. The plan was to be executed this fall to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
Washington Post: CIA spied on bin Laden from safe house
The CIA maintained a safe house in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad for a small team of spies who conducted extensive surveillance over a period of months on the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. Special Operations forces this week, U.S. officials said. The secret CIA facility was used as a base of operations for one of the most delicate human intelligence gathering missions in recent CIA history, one that relied on Pakistani informants and other sources to help assemble a “pattern of life” portrait of the occupants and daily activities at the fortified compound where bin Laden was found, the officials said.
CNN: GOP debate overshadowed by bin Laden killing, lack of top candidates
The handful of Republican presidential candidates who showed up in South Carolina on Thursday for the first presidential debate of the 2012 election praised President Obama for hunting down Osama bin Laden, but they quickly took sharp aim at the rest of foreign policy record.
CNN: Bombing of Gadhafi won't let up, Clinton warns
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, meeting with allies, kept up pressure on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi Thursday, demanding that he "cease attacks and the threat of attacks" against rebels who oppose his rule. …"As long as Gadhafi continues to attack his citizens, we will continue to strike his forces," she said. …Clinton was speaking in Rome, where international powers held their second high-level meeting on the Libyan crisis.
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CNN: Final levee breach completed in plan to stem flooding in central U.S.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday breached the third and final portion of a levee on the Mississippi River to help offset catastrophic floods in communities across several states….The Ohio River level at Cairo, Illinois, has dropped nearly 2 feet since Monday afternoon. Officials said they believe the levels would be up to 3 feet higher now if the levee had not been detonated.
USA Today: U.S. tax burden at lowest level since '58
Americans are paying the smallest share of their income for taxes since 1958, a reflection of tax cuts and a weak economy, a USA TODAY analysis finds. The total tax burden — for all federal, state and local taxes — dropped to 23.6% of income in the first quarter, according to Bureau of Economic Analysis data.
Wall Street Journal: Help Wanted on Factory Floor
U.S. manufacturing companies, long known for layoffs and shipping jobs overseas, now find themselves in a very different position: scrambling for scarce talent at home. Large and small manufacturers of everything from machine tools to chemicals are scouring for potential hires in high schools, community colleges and the military. They are poaching from one another, retraining people who used to have white-collar jobs, and in some cases even hiring former prisoners who learned machinist skills behind bars.
ABC News: FedEx 'Used 9/11 to Profit,' Whistleblower Says
A whistleblower has alleged that FedEx "used 9/11 to profit," defrauding the government by falsely blaming security delays related to the terror attacks for slow deliveries and then failing to pay penalties for packages that arrived late. The allegations emerged in a lawsuit that was unsealed this week after FedEx agreed to settle the case with the U.S. Department of Justice for $8 million, without admitting wrongdoing.
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Wall Street Journal: Split Seen Between bin Laden, Deputy
Osama bin Laden and the deputy leader of al Qaeda "parted ways" six years ago, a senior Pakistani intelligence official said Thursday. The official said bin Laden had been "marginalized" by his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who helped bin Laden found al Qaeda in 1988 and led its operation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He added that bin Laden had been sidelined because he no longer had the funds to support al Qaeda operations and that his popularity in the network was slipping.
CNN: Roots of terror untouched by bin Laden's death
"The U.S. presence is acting as a rallying cry for these people," said political analyst Aasiya Riaz. "You'll talk to many people who say things will not change in the region until the United States picks up and leaves." Riaz … said violent jihad has also been injected into this region's culture and is viewed as an effective strategy against oppression. Ironically, it was the U.S. that paid for and supported extremist militants during the 1980s Afghan jihad against the Soviet invasion.
CNN: Same-sex unions recognized by Brazil's high court
The court ruled that the same rights and rules that apply to "stable unions" of heterosexual couples will apply to same-sex couples, including the right to joint declaration of income tax, pension, inheritance and property sharing. The ruling does not allow same-sex marriage, but gay rights activists hailed it as an important advance for same-sex couples.
CNN: Mexican protesters begin 3-day march seeking end to drug war
Hundreds of protesters began a three-day march to Mexico's capital Thursday, demanding peace in the war between the government and drug cartels. …Without referring directly to the marchers, Mexican President Felipe Calderon issued a statement late Wednesday night... "Retreating from the fight is not an option. Quite the opposite. We must redouble our efforts, because if we stop fighting, they are going to kidnap, extort and kill all over the country.”
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The Atlantic: The Double Dip's Official: Home Prices Fall to New Low
National home prices are officially on the hunt for a new bottom. After beginning to decline again this summer, once the home buyer credit expired, home prices hit a new post-bubble low in April, according to housing industry consulting firm Clear Capital.
CNNMoney: AIG slips back into the red
AIG reported a first quarter loss Thursday, moving the insurer back into the red after the bailout recipient showed signs of life with a strong final quarter to close out 2010.For U.S. taxpayers, the loss is bad news. Here's why: The Treasury Department owns a 92% stake in AIG, the result of a 2008 bailout of the too big to fail insurer.
TIME: Domino's New Recipe: (Brutal) Truth in Advertising
In December 2009, Domino's, the ubiquitous delivery chain with some 5,000 outlets in the U.S. and over 4,000 more internationally, launched an ad campaign, both on television and across the Web, that basically bashed the company. …But it turns out that honesty sells. Domino's, which took in over $1.5 billion in revenue last year, has engineered one of the more impressive turnarounds in the restaurant industry.
New York Times: Head of MTV Networks Resigns Abruptly
The sudden change ended the tenure of [Judy McGrath,] one of the most powerful women in television and stunned many of the company’s employees at a time when MTV Networks, which includes channels like MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and VH1, is riding a surge in both ratings for its programs and profits for its parent company, Viacom.
In Case You Missed It…
CNN's Chris Lawrence reports the chopper that SEALs had to leave behind in the bin Laden raid was no ordinary machine.